Officials concede a new name for a freshly overhauled Bay of Plenty park will be hard to pronouce for some people, but the wording has a lovely back story.

Tauranga City Council wants last-minute public feedback on its new name for the old Phoenix carpark in Mount Maunganui.

Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka is the name proposed for the new urban space being developed on the site of former Maunganui Rd carpark.

It means "The Place of the Circling Birds" and references the fishing tradition of looking for circling birds above schools of fish, as well as a pre-European settlement skirmish between the Ngāi Te Rangi and Waitaha tribes in which kites were used.


It was picked up by council staff in partnership with Ngai Tukairangi and Ngāti Kuku, and approved by the full council subject to consultation.

Both councillors and Mount retailers have noted the name was long, some people would find it hard to pronounce and it would probably be shortened colloquially - or continue to be called Phoenix park.

Carlo Ellis, strategic Māori engagement manager for Tauranga City Council, said from a tangata whenua perspective, it was important to have the story of the full name, and there would be signage to explain its origin, meaning and significance.

"But we don't mind if it gets shortened, like K Valley (Kopurererua) or The Mount (Mauao)."

Councillor John Robson supported the name, saying it would be "a challenge for some and a joy for others".

Steve Morris said the name was "better than Phoenix Park, especially when you think about how noxious phoenix palms are".

The councillors wanted residents and retailers in Mount Maunganui North consulted before the name had final sign off.

The staff said the council was not required to consult the public on the decision, and there was limited time for consultation as the signs - already designed - needed to be made and installed in time for a private blessing, scheduled for December 22 and to be followed by a public opening.


They agreed to run a short, pared-back consultation, including a letter drop and online feedback push.

A report by council staff member Fiona Nalder said passive reserves would normally be named after the road.

Maunganui Road Reserve, however, was the name assigned to the open space being developed at 398 Maunganui Rd, the block with the Mount Library and Zespri office.

Nalder said the name told a story and acknowledged the importance of the area to mana whenua.

While tourists might find the name a mouthful, she said Ministry of Culture and Heritage researchers found one-third of international visitors to New Zealand were interested in learning about the culture.

Retail and business' views

Nigel Busbridge, V8 Trike Tours

"I'm all for keeping Māori names but make it something people can get their mouths around. Try saying that after you've had a couple of drinks."

Sylvia Harmsen, Zohar

"That's a mouthful. Council consultation always comes after they have made the decision. It should be something really simple, one word would be good. Like the Māori word for surfboard."

Mandy Gillgren, Zeytins at the Mount

"I think it's going to be difficult for people to quickly identify the space instead of just saying 'I'll meet you at the Phoenix Park'. I appreciate the heritage but something simpler would have been a bit more appropriate."

Renae Procter, Repertoire

"It's really nice. Any type of iwi influence and storytelling about this place and Mauao is important. People will probably call it Ngā Manu, as a shortened version that would be awesome."